Posts Tagged ‘Nasrallah’
Bilal has a new piece coming out this week I believe in CSM entitled “High-Stakes hinge moment for Hezbollah and Lebanon.”
Two main arguments: Hizbullah is really worried about the STL – I disagree on this point as I wrote in Foreign Policy two weeks ago.
But another point is that:
“Assuming the prosecution is not derailed and no deals are made, Hezbollah (which Washington classifies as a terrorist organization) has only two options if it is indicted. It can accept the charge and try to limit the costs; or it can react violently and suffer the consequences of such action. Neither bodes well.”
Bilal strongly suggests option two is the more likely one although he contradicts himself at the end of the piece by suggesting that, maybe, Hizbullah will be cautious about initiating violence.
I think we will probably see tonight – but the violent reaction is not likely as Hizbullah does NOT NEED to react violently. Indeed I would suggest a third option – undermining the STL itself from within its own discourse and practices and from without – I.E. exactly what tonight is being billed as….(Bilal makes only passing reference to legal options after a long scenario of Option 2 speculative violence is played out in the bulk of the piece)
Remember the STL has been so botched, misused and problematic from the outset that there are numerous ways available whereby Hizbullah can Alan Dershowitz the whole house of cards.
So one should not get boxed into the notion that this is going to suddenly provoke a “violent extremist” Hezbollah into an angry fit of death and destruction… there are several other avenues that are far easier and better for Hezbollah and its allies – due in no small part to the way the Bush administration and Hard-Core M14 folks ruined the prospects of a decent STL that might actually have come close to achieving its lofty stated purpose(s).
From Nasrallah’s speech during a ceremony to honor the children of martyrs, July 25: “…I say to the young men and women, the families of the martyrs, the parents of the martyrs, and the mothers and wives of martyrs: These martyrs have been among the most important symbols of this country and this nation over the past 30 years. They are the makers of its victory and history, and they are the ones who have preserved the nation’s existence and dignity”
“…Therefore, resistance is not only an intellectual, cultural, jihadist, or political project. This resistance or this achievement is mixed with our blood, sweat, tears, sighs, vigilance, efforts, and sacrifices. Hence I say to the entire world: The resistance for which we have sacrificed to stay its course and achieve its goals is the dearest thing we have. We will not allow a small or big one in this world to undermine its dignity.”
“…Hezbollah’s resistance in particular managed to attain this status and penetrate all barriers. It is an Islamic resistance that is respected by the Christians as well. It is mostly a Shi’i resistance that is respected by the Sunni world, too. It is a Lebanese resistance that is respected by the Arabs and all non-Arab Muslims. It is a resistance that is viewed by all the oppressed and persecuted people in the third world and throughout the world as a model, example, and hope.”
“… This resistance has for the first time in the history of Lebanon placed Lebanon in the heart of the regional equation. This is unprecedented. Lebanon has always been a recipient. Is this not so?”
…”During that war ( in 2006), they wanted to crush the resistance rather than disarm it, expel it from south of the Litani River, or seize its rockets… What problem did they have with Hezbollah? Was it because Hezbollah was a political party? No, because we are accepted as a political party. The Europeans, Asians, Africans, and Arabs meet with us. There are people with whom we have no meetings because we do not want to sit with them not because they do not want to sit with us. Even the Americans have often sought to sit with us, but we would not.”
“They tried to open channels with us in 2000 but we closed them because we believe that America is Israel. It is the country that supports, embraces, protects, arms, and employs Israel. America is the country behind the war on Lebanon in July 2006, and Israel only waged it.”
“…Where is the problem then? The problem with Hezbollah is that it is resistance. The problem with Hezbollah and the likes of Hezbollah is that it refuses that its homeland Lebanon be weak, it refuses that its protection of its homeland be false, and that it rejects that anyone in this world would impose humiliating conditions on it. This is their problem with Hezbollah because it rejects this US-Israeli settlement that wants to expropriate the land and to deprive an entire nation, millions of Palestinians, from returning to their homeland, houses, and fields to live in dignity. This is the problem with Hezbollah. This is the problem and I do not accept settlement, and I am telling you from now, this cannot be settled.”
“…Do the Americans not admit now that their project in Lebanon has failed? It has failed… Thus, they have resorted to the new headline, which is distorting the image. Feltman said we have paid $500 million to distort Hezbollah’s image. What was the result? I will answer this question…We will build on it to say why we are not afraid. We have no fears for ourselves or for our image, but we fear for this country and for all the atmospheres, which some sides are trying to create in this country.”
“…We all in Lebanon want to know the truth in the assassination of Martyr Prime Minister Rafiq al-Hariri. This issue has nothing to do with the sect, the party, or the area. There is national unanimity on this issue.
…”The case of Martyr Rafiq al-Hariri is no longer a family affair to relinquish it or not. This is the cause of a homeland and people. At the news conference, I said that we have all, in Lebanon and the region, paid its price. We have all paid the price of the repercussions of this assassination with varying degrees. We all want to know the truth first. We all want to administer justice. When we know the truth, and I am telling you now, we call for administering justice and not pardon. This is not one-upmanship. This is because we have a vision of what happened and about what would happen.”
“… This commission was not qualified to lead to the revelation of the truth. What leads to the revelation of the truth, as we have always said, is an honest, technical, transparent, and scientific investigation. What can an honest, technical, transparent, and scientific investigation do? The whole world works this way on the security and judicial levels. They put all hypotheses: This includes, who could be the one who killed Martyr Prime Minister Rafiq al-Hariri? Who has the motive? Who has interest? Who has the ability? “
“…The Investigation Commission has never worked this way for one single day. I tell this to everyone I respect and believe that he wants to know the truth. The Investigation Commission has never worked this way, not for one day. From the beginning, it resorted to one hypothesis. When you conduct investigation, you put hypotheses and then conduct investigation. What they did, however, they brought a charge and issued a verdict and they then began to search for evidence. No one works in this way and this is still continuing until now.”
“..If the truth is not revealed, there will be no justice, but there will be injustice. We call for justice. Justice is to punish the killers of Prime Minister Rafiq al-Hariri. Punishing the one who did not kill him, however, is the height of injustice.”
“…False witnesses misled investigation four years and they build on it what was built, and we said this at the news conference, yet no one is authorized to ask them or interrogate them, or to punish them and to call them to account. Is this justice?
“…I said this at the news conference and I reiterate: If anyone in this world wants to sit with us to discuss with us that one of our members is accused and therefore, we should search for a way out, I will not sit with anyone. If anyone wants to sit with us based on the fact that one of our members is accused and therefore, we should make a settlement, we will not sit with anyone.”
“…What the Israeli media are saying is correct and it is compatible with our information. The Israeli information is obtained from the heart of investigation, from the heart of Bellemare’s office, and from the heart of the International Tribunal. The same Israeli information, which was published by the news media a few days ago, was said by security officials in Lebanon, to the effect that the first presumptive verdict against three members, the second, which will be issued later, will be against five, the third will be issued against 20, and the fourth will be issued against 50 members. Who are they trying to fool?”
“What we call for is to form a Lebanese committee, whether a parliamentary committee, a judicial committee, a ministerial committee, a security committee, or a mixed committee. It should bring the three witnesses, in addition to Al-Siddiq… They should sit with them and ask them about who told you, who guided you, who taught you, who fabricated you, and about who used to send you to interrogation and after you return he listens to you to know what happened and to provide you with the new information you should say.”
“…Along with all Lebanese, we want to know the truth and to administer justice, but we will not allow the defamation of a resistance, which is the dearest thing we have and for the sake of creating it, we have offered the dearest of what we have.”
Watching a taped version of Press TV’s live interpretation of Nasrallah’s address/sermon on Khomeini now. Nasrallah is going to lengths to try to explain the core Khomeini concept of “exporting the revolution” which has understandably made some in the Middle East and beyond concerned – given that the benign idea of exporting religious/ethical ideas has also come alongside, at certain key points, an Iranian sword – though usually not in the form of “armies” but through the IRGC.
“[This concept] does not mean we want to do this the way of the sword”
“We want to hear new ideas and present our ideas to the world… everyone has the right to accept [or not accept] our ideas. The idea of exporting the revolution as not about exporting armies or invading countries….what he meant is exporting these ideas and ethics… today, speaking about lebanon, we can say the resistance founded in lebanon, although a national resistance which includes many different sects…. we, hizbullah, base our ideas on the ideas of Iman Khomeini when it comes to martyrdom and depending on god… this is what Khomeini means when he talks about exporting the revolution.”
“These are not the teachings of Khomeini but the teachings of the prophets – these ideas must be spread to the world in general…”
Already media reports, as the Lebanese detainees get released tonight through Hizbullah’s corridor of dominance of Naquora and Tyre, are saying that Hizbullah says the immediate release through Lebanon and not Jordan all proves that the military power of the resistance works…. i.e. Israel does not want to add a “bleeding wound” back to its ledger with Hizbullah given what happened to the IDF in 2006.
Its going to be a hard message domestically to overcome and Nasrallah seems ready, tomorrow, to capitalize on it.
Look for remarks beyond the obvious angle of what this says about Israeli “culture” and the humanitarian angle… I suspect the main part will be what is the main theme for Hizbullah now – Israel’s supposedly declining Qualitative Military Edge and the looming confrontation that “will change the face of the region.”
We will see.
I have a long piece coming out soon in Tablet magazine that explores these issues in greater depth. The draft was done before Nasrallah’s liberation day speech, but I amended it afterwards. Originally I had cited this passage in Hillary Clinton’s AIPAC speech from april, which I would argue is exactly the logic which Nasrallah is employing when he calls for using the power – the QME – of the resistance axis for a negotiated settlement
“We must recognize,” Hillary said, “that the ever-evolving technology of war is making it harder to guarantee Israel’s security. For six decades, Israelis have guarded their borders vigilantly. But advances in rocket technology mean that Israeli families are now at risk far from those borders. Despite efforts at containment, rockets with better guidance systems, longer range, and more destructive power are spreading across the region… These challenges cannot be ignored or wished away. Only by choosing a new path can Israel make the progress it deserves to ensure that their children are able to see a future of peace, and only by having a partner willing to participate with them will the Palestinians be able to see the same future.”
Well, Nasrallah and Hizbullah do their reading and he used Hillary’s speech at length in order to make his points – here are the key excerpts
“Thirdly – and here she touches on technology, and from here I will go to the new formula. Here again I better read the text lest I make any changes in it. She says: Finally, we must realize that technology, which develops as a result of the continuation of the war, makes it difficult to preserve the security of Israel.
The technology keeps developing. How does it develop? For six decades; that is, 60 years, the Israelis have been able to guard their borders alertly. But developments in the missile technology mean that the Israeli families that are far from the border are in danger. Let us explain this. First of all, the missile technology is no longer complicated, costly, or difficult to comprehend. Missiles can be manufactured locally, and we in the Arab region have as many talents and brains as you want. They need only a political decision. They are not costly. You can create a missile force that will create a balance of deterrence at a cost that is worth only 10 MIG aircraft. It is simply that. It is not costly, complicated, or difficult. Moreover, confronting this missile force will not be easy. All the talk you hear – patriot or matriot, the Iron Dome and whatever they call them – will not be able to do anything to our missiles. Technological development means that you do not fight on the border, but every town, every village, every facility, every airport, and every harbour inside the Zionist entity will be threatened. This means that the Israeli domestic front will be threatened in any future war and the Israelis will not be able to withstand this.
Thus as a result of these considerations, she tells them – she wants to convince them – come and let us have a settlement. Act before it is too late. Now when the Isr ae lis review what happened in 2000, they will weep in regret. They will say: Had we reached an agreement with Syria before 2000 and returned the Golan to it, we would have gotten rid of Lebanon, Hezbollah, Hamas, and Jihad and everything called resistance, in addition to Iran also. Regrettably, we were stubborn and we failed to reach such a settlement. Of course this is their evaluation, their revision.
Now the Israelis are being stubborn. I tell you that because of their arrogance, their tyranny, and their racism, they will continue to be obstinate until they fall into the abyss, God willing. To the intellectuals I say: This is Mrs Clinton, and this is the US State Department, and this is the evaluation of the US stand. This is not the evaluation of President Ahmadinezhad or anyone in Palestine or in Lebanon. Now the Americans are telling the Jews, openly and frankly: If you do not help us; if you do help Obama to reach a settlement, then there will be no purely Jewish state. This state is threatened. Everything in it will be threatened. Now you might find someone to reach a settlement with you but you will not find anyone in the future. This means that you are heading towards the abyss, to ruination.
“…If the war takes place, which we do not want but which we do not fear and which we believe will change the features of the region - here I think Mrs Clinton agrees with me; she is with me and not with her friends in the region - if the war takes place – and here I have to add something – in the past we said that the Israeli domestic front, God be praised, was open, and we know everything about the domestic front, where we should aim at the domestic front, and what the points of weakness and the point of strength are in the domestic front. We talked about the land and the firm ground; we said we would attack an airport for an airport, a harbour for a harbour, a city for a city, a building for a building or b! uildings, an electric power plant for an electric power plant, and a factory for a factory…”
On a different tack – here is Nasrallah at his worst – the hubris, which, if sincere, means that Nasrallah may be greatly overestimating the internal threats and the charachter and strength of the State of Israel:
“That is Israel; there is nothing in it. These are Israel’s men, leaders, and brains. Can we say that our men, leaders, and brains are weaker them theirs? In fact we cannot compare the two sides. Can we compare our people or soldiers with theirs? I challenge Israel to show a single picture of a group of resistance men crying and wailing like children. But we have films about their soldiers. Do they have weapons? True, but the fear of their weapons is something of the past. They are no longer terrifying because our hearts are no more scared.
Today, I would like to conclude by calling on you to reverse the rules. Why should we remain on the defensive – I am talking about psychology, by the way. Some say that Lebanon is afraid and we want someone to reassure Lebanon. No, let Israel be afraid and let it look for someone to reassure it. I am not going to reassure it. We are not required to reassure it. When Israel is reassured it launches attacks. When Israel is afraid it pulls back. Therefore, Israel should be afraid of war. As for Lebanon, nobody should make it afraid of war.
Allow me to allude to those who speak about war day and night. There is talk about war and they say: Let us remove the cause of war, and they mean by this the arms of the resistance. Let them save their breath. This is no use. The resistance and its strategic presence and its existence in the equation has transcended by a long distance all these speeches and calculations. Today the enemy is scared and it will remain scared, and we will keep it scared…”
Two years later: “Realistic political behavior,” says that, “you [must] first convince the Israelis of the need to have a just and comprehensive peace before asking the resistance movement to lay down its arms…”
At a conference in Washington this week, one top Israeli think-tank leader pooh-poohed the idea that Hezbollah represents a deep threat (strange, and just a bit schizo, because on the other hand all hell is being raised by the Israelis to get more anti-missile system funding and to argue the existential threat that the resistance axis, with Hizbullah as the nearest enemy, represents). He said that Hizbullah is slightly more dangerous than… the Palestinian resistance groups i.e. pretty much squashable.
In any case – on this ten year anniversary interesting to think about Nasrallah’s analysis about why he believes Israeli will collapse in the near to medium term. In my mind, this claim is representative of how far out ahead his more messianic discourse has gone… but then again, I really don’t have much more than a superficial understanding of Israel’s SWOTs.
From late 2008 speech:
“As for the elimination of Israel from existence, let the beloved ones who are enemies of Israel and the others who are friends of Israel and are betting on it, listen to what I say: The elimination of Israel from existence is inevitable because this is a historical and divine law from which there is no escape. This is definite. I am talking about the historical course of events in the region. I believe that this historical course will reach its end in the coming few years. This is mandatory and inevitable for subjective and objective reasons [a meaningless distinction, pure rhetoric, one should note]. This is not the right time to deliver a lecture. Therefore, I will say these reasons quickly [interesting because this all important “lecture” has not really come since then….how will Israel collapse, what are its strong points, what is auguring against this teleology, how does Nasrallah know this when he is so far away from the object??? This is Nasrallah at his weakest I think, determinism, teleology, messianism….. all undermining his own divided desire for independent reasoning]
1. “Because Israel is an alien entity that cannot continue in the region. This is a subjective reason.
2. “Because Israel’s existence does not depend on its intrinsic power but the international will and the international situation which will change within a few years, too. [oh really?]
3. “Because the Palestinian people have held out for 60 years, during which they endured what is unbearable and they continue to endure the daily killings, siege, and starvation. Their leaders, cadres, youth, women, and children are killed. Nevertheless, they refuse to surrender or give up Jerusalem or the land. They refuse to be resettled in any land other than the holy land of Palestine. This is not simple. Holding out for 60 years under all these tough, bitter, and painful circumstances in spite of world abandonment of them is one of the factors leading to the elimination of Israel from existence and the absence of a future for it.
4. “Because of the demographic situation in Palestine of 1948 and 1967. The occasion might not be appropriate now to say this but let me say it. I once said in a speech that the Israelis are afraid about their existence even if the Palestinians do not carry arms and do not adopt the strategy of armed resistance, but instead adopt the strategy of marriage and reproduction. Israel will not then continue to exist.
5. “Because of Arab objection. Some Arab countries, headed by Syria, and others throughout the Arab and Islamic world, continue to object. The Zionists know that some rulers may normalize relations with them but our sincere, loyal, faithful, and truthful peoples throughout the Arab and Islamic world cannot forgive the occupation of Jerusalem and Palestine. If some rulers are ready to forgive in order to protect their thrones, our peoples and generations will not forgive the Zionists who perpetrated massacres in Dayr Yasin and Qana. These peoples will keep Israel besieged, alien, and extraneous without having the ability to continue or survive.
6. “Because of the loss of the Israeli political and military leaders. I am responsible for the words I said a few years ago when Sharon came and they began to scare us with him. I said Sharon is the last king of the people of Israel. Israel will no longer have a king. All are dwarfs [really? All are dwarfs? smacks of pure hubris]. When the Winograd commission report was issued, some people considered it an accomplishment that Olmert stayed in power. They considered this failure on the part of the resistance. On the contrary, we are happy that Olmert is staying.
“If we are asked to choose between an enemy prime minister who is strong and has a charisma and can improve the Israeli situation, and a prime minister who is helpless, failing, stupid, and foolish, we will choose the second. I officially thank Mr Winograd for not holding Ehud Olmert personally responsible.
7. “Because of the loss of ideology in the Zionist society. This is what Netanyahu spoke about a few years ago when he said the Zionist ideology of the people of Israel has ended and the Zionist plan and ideology have become past history. Take a look at culture in Israel today although the Arabs do not regrettably follow things up. Look at the rate of thefts, crime, drugs, security chaos, social and political disintegration, and internal strife. This is the society which replaced an ideology, for which the first gangs sacrificed, with a different reality. Now its youth refuse to join the army and soldiers in the army refuse to go to death.
8. “Because of the fall of the Israeli Army and its prestige and the fall of its ability to deter, and the decline in the soldiers’ confidence in their officers and the officers’ confidence in generals, and the decline in the people’s confidence in this army and this institution. I am not the one saying this. Read what the Zionists and opinion polls say in Israel. These final results were brought about by the 2000 victory, the escalation of the intifadah in Palestine, the Zionists’ failure to confront the brothers in the various Palestinian resistance factions, and the July war. Therefore, I quoted what their founder and expert Ben-Gurion said. He said Israel would collapse after losing the first war.
“I am explaining this to the nation so that it will have confidence, hope, and horizon. There was a debate in Israel on whether they were defeated or not in 1973, but there was no such debate about the July war. There was a debate in Lebanon, of course, because there are people in Lebanon who were wagering on Israel to win. When it did not win, they were upset.”